UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

IRAQ: Universities recruit 5,000 teaching staff from Iraqis living abroad

BAGHDAD, 18 October 2005 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government has announced plans to recruit 5,000 qualified teaching staff for the country’s colleges and universities from Iraqis living abroad to fill vacancies and halt a decline in academic standards.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research said it would advertise internationally to recruit 4,500 Iraqi graduates holding a masters degree and 500 more educated to Phd level.

“This decision was taken after a very profound study of the general situation of higher education in Iraq, where we found that most of the qualified professionals with excellent advanced degrees have left the country,” said Salah Alawi, a senior official of the ministry.

Officials said the recruitment drive would focus on raising standards in areas such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, biology, engineering, physics, computer science and public administration.

Advertisements would be placed on television and in newspapers throughout the Middle East, they added.

Thousands of qualified Iraqi professionals fled abroad during the authoritarian rule of former president Saddam Hussein and more have left as a result of deteriorating security in the country since he was ousted by a US-led invasion in 2003.

However, despite a recent hefty increase in the salaries of university teaching staff, the government may have difficulty in attracting many of them back.

The average salary of a university lecturer has increased from around US $50 per month under Saddam Hussein to between $200 and $250 today.

It is set to rise to between $400 and $500 soon as a result of pay increases in the pipeline and some academic teaching staff may earn up to $700 per month.

However, this is still low by international standards.

Another problem for those contemplating a return to Iraq is poor security.

“The violence and the fear of kidnapping, especially in the capital, have caused my colleagues and me to lose our interest in teaching," said Nadia Idris, a biology professor at Baghdad’s Mustansiryia University.

But all agree that Iraqi universities and further education colleges urgently need to arrest a marked decline in academic standards.

“Iraq’s universities were once an example of professionalism and competence, where graduating students left with an exceptional level of training and knowledge because the best teachers offered them their experience, but today staff shortages have turned the situation upside down,” said Ahmed Rawi, a professor of medicine at Baghdad University.

Students say they are also aware of the decline in standards.

“I am in my last year at the College of Dentistry and the quality of education has declined markedly compared to my early years in this college,” said Muhammad Sinan, a fifth year student.

Themes: (IRIN) Education




This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2005

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list